San Diego Design Week showcases artistic side of local beer

Crimson Bouquet, a fruited sour IPA from San Marcos-based Mason Ale Works.
(Sara Butler )

Experience the magic behind the label

San Diego Design Week returns this month with a variety of design-centric programs and exhibitions — including one for San Diego beer lovers.

Happening Wednesday through Sept. 13, an outdoor art exhibition at Societe Brewing Company will showcase a collection of beer cans with exceptional label design. The gallery focuses on the work of two artists — San Diegan Tyler Cristobal and Andrea Carrillo Iglesias of Tijuana — along with Mother Sponge, the design studio who works with Societe’s brand. Attendees will learn how the design process works, the interconnectedness between the San Diego and Tijuana beer communities, and more.

The exhibition will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 to 13. Societe Brewing Company is located at 8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. in Kearny Mesa. For details about the SSDW’s Beer Can Design show, visit

From left: Elia Gómez Smith; Brendon Watters, CEO of Ballast Point; and Skylar Holewinski.
(Ballast Point)

Ballast Point awards two scholarships

It’s no secret that the beer scene has a reputation of being a White, male-dominated industry. The longstanding issue has received more attention this year, in part from a May 2021 viral Instagram post that prompted many women nationwide — including in San Diego — to share their stories of sexism and harassment.

With its new initiative, Ballast Point Brewing Co. hopes to grant more opportunities in the beer industry for underrepresented groups. The San Diego brewery, which launched a “Brewing for Diversity” campaign in February, recently awarded scholarships to two San Diegans: Elia Gómez Smith and Skylar Holewinski.

The scholarships — part of Ballast Point’s partnership with the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Program — cover the tuition and fees for a current or incoming student in the certification program. Recipients are also granted the opportunity to work a paid internship for Ballast Point to get real-world experience in the beer industry.

Those interested in applying for next year’s scholarship can visit

Team Meeting is a collaboration between the Original 40 Brewing Company and Mission Brewery.
(The Original 40 Brewing Company)

A Team Meeting ... not over Zoom

San Diego’s beer scene has always been collaborative — but after more than a year of isolation, local breweries have started partnering up and churning out tons of new releases. Over the next few months, we’ll feature a different collab that pairs some of our favorite San Diego breweries together.

Team Meeting, a juicy pale ale with 5.5 percent ABV, is the brainchild of Mission Brewery and Original 40 Brewing. The downtown San Diego x North Park collab brew has notes of peach, apricot, tangerine, grapefruit and white grape, paired with Azacca and Simcoe hops. Team Meeting is currently available on tap at Original 40 Brewing, with 16-ounce cans stocked at Bottlecraft, South Bay Liquor, and multiple locations of Barons Market. Visit for details.

What I’m drinking this week

Name: Crimson Bouquet

Brewery: Mason Ale Works

Style: Fruited sour IPA

ABV: 8.1 percent

After spotlighting a sour ale (Apricito from North Park Beer Co.) I went to the liquor store resisting another pucker-worthy brew, scanning the offerings for a new-to-me IPA.

But when I saw a sour IPA on the shelf, I knew it was meant to be.

Crimson Bouquet is a fruited sour IPA from Mason Aleworks, a San Marcos-based brewery. It’s packaged in a dark pink can, adorned with artwork of a flower bouquet held by a gory hand. True to the name, the beer itself is a rich, deep red color — and like the can art, frighteningly delightful.

I expected the beer to resemble a traditional IPA: heavy on the hops with a hint of fruit. Instead, the raspberry-forward drink reminded me of a strong, elegant cocktail: one where the alcohol taste is fully present, but blended in a way that feels expensive. Definitely the first beer I’ve ever had that I considering garnishing with fruit, preferably a handful of berries.

After my last sip, I started planning a trip to Mason Ale Works — but to my disappointment, the San Marcos brewery is temporarily closed. So until the North County tasting room reopens, I’ll be stocking my fridge with its canned offerings.